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What is Cloud Foundry?

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Cloud Foundry is used to build, deploy, and scale containers, capabilities that Kubernetes possesses. It connects containers to networks and routing, allowing developers to concentrate on building and deploying application code across applications.

Kubernetes, on the other hand, offers developers a distributed framework that scales clusters and applications, making it a great option for workloads that run across multiple cloud environments. It also helps developers who require the flexibility of deploying applications on multiple cloud infrastructures.

Cloud Foundry is an open source platform as a service (PaaS) originally developed in 2011 for developers to build the first breed of containerized applications. With a focus on developer experience, Cloud Foundry provides developers a platform to build, deploy, and run stateless cloud native applications. 

Kubernetes is an open source container orchestration platform that automates many of the manual processes involved in deploying, managing, and scaling containerized applications. Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes are two of the most popular containerization platforms and share features. Comparing Cloud Foundry versus Kubernetes reveals their different approaches to managing applications.

Both Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes:

  • Run applications in containers
  • Run applications that are packaged as Docker images
  • Run very large production workloads
  • Can be run on-premises or in the public cloud
  • Are open source and governed by independent foundations

The difference between them is that Cloud Foundry focuses on the application, whereas Kubernetes focuses on the container. Kubernetes adds complexity to developers' work, making them build the container for the application and provide other deployment configurations, while Cloud Foundry provides a different experience for cloud operators and cloud developers, simplifying the interface. Kubernetes also gives developers more freedom as they can configure containers best for their applications.

Similar to Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry is a continuous delivery platform that supports a full application development lifecycle and allows developers to build, deploy, and run containerized applications.

It uses a container-based architecture to run, update, and deploy apps in any programming language over a variety of cloud service providers – public or private. This multi-cloud environment allows developers to use the cloud platform that suits specific application workloads and move those workloads between cloud providers as necessary with no changes to the application.

While Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry have several features in common, Cloud Foundry offers a higher-level abstraction for deploying cloud-native applications. In contrast to Kubernetes, which uses standard Linux container runtimes, Cloud Foundry uses its own bespoke framework and runtime support called Buildpacks. This additional layer to building and deploying applications while removing a level of control from developers. 


Showing its age and waning support, Cloud Foundry now presents several challenges and limitations to organizations, including heavy costs to refactor and modernize legacy applications to fit the Cloud Foundry platform and the lack of support for newer technologies.

While Cloud Foundry has embraced Kubernetes concepts, it remains a distinct platform. This presents a challenge when Kubernetes workloads are deployed throughout an organization, since there will be multiple platforms to manage. You can reduce complexity by moving towards a common, enterprise platform for all container-based applications in your environment.

Organizations that face the limitations and complexity of continuing to support Cloud Foundry may be looking for alternatives. Red Hat® OpenShift® provides a complete cloud-native application platform for businesses planning to move away from Cloud Foundry and to OpenShift. 

Red Hat OpenShift is an open hybrid cloud solution that supports containerizing and modernizing existing applications, as well as new cloud-native development. As an enterprise-ready Kubernetes container platform for production applications and workloads Red Hat OpenShift supports both traditional and cloud-native applications, allowing them to run anywhere, and enables automation inside and outside Kubernetes clusters.

Customers moving from Cloud Foundry to OpenShift experience the following benefits:

  • Enterprise, Kubernetes-native, application development and development platform
  • Support for both stateless and stateful applications
  • Improved productivity with standardized development environment and self-service provisioning
  • Enhanced security with Red Hat Advanced Cluster Security, for continuous infrastructure, container, and workload security and compliance. 
  • Significantly reduced hardware costs by running OpenShift on bare metal

Keep reading


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Why choose Red Hat OpenShift Serverless?

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Why choose Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh?

Red Hat OpenShift Service Mesh gives you a uniform way to connect, manage, and observe microservices-based applications.

More about OpenShift


An enterprise application platform with a unified set of tested services for bringing apps to market on your choice of infrastructure.

An AI platform that provides tools to rapidly develop, train, serve, and monitor models and AI-enabled applications.

Software-defined storage that gives data a permanent place to live as containers spin up and down and across environments.

A single console, with built-in security policies, for controlling Kubernetes clusters and applications.



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